Two losses in two days spelled the end of the 2019 season for the Hastings Raiders baseball team. The Raiders, the No. 6 seed in Section 3AAAA, lost a heartbreaker in eight innings to No. 3 Burnsville on Wednesday, May 29, at the Alimagnet Fields in Burnsville.
Hastings led 2-1 heading into the bottom of the seventh but ended up losing 3-2. The Raiders then dropped down to the consolation bracket and played the very next day against No. 7 Rosemount where they fell 11-5 to the Irish to end their season.
Hastings finished its season 8-14 overall, including the playoffs.
After two days of delays due to the weather and a lack of umpires, Hastings finally started section play against No. 3 Burnsville and they faced arguably the best pitcher in the section-junior Max Carlson-the brother of Sam Carlson who was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the second round of the 2017 MLB draft. However, the Raiders proved up to the task of taking on Carlson.
Hastings struck first with one run in the top of the first when senior Jake Biermaier walked, senior Drew Davis reached on a fielder's choice and stole second after Biermaier was thrown out at second, and senior Isaac Flynn brought Davis in with an RBI single. Junior Tom Ritt started on the mound for the Raiders and was lights out for nearly the entire game.
Burnsville tied the game in the bottom of the second and the game stayed at 1-1 until the top of the fifth. Senior Will Lavin led off the inning with a walk and then junior Alex Otto attempted to advance him with a bunt. Otto got the bunt down and Carlson fielded it from his pitcher's spot, but then threw the ball over the head of his first baseman. Lavin advanced to third with Otto safe and then sophomore Danny Peters brought in Lavin with an RBI groundout to make it 2-1 Hastings.
The Raiders were able to chase Carlson after that fifth inning but were unable to take advantage of the Burnsville bullpen. The score remained 2-1 Hastings until the bottom of the seventh when Ritt was relieved by Lavin. A walk, a hit and a Raider throwing error allowed a run to score and send the game to extra innings.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Blaze got the leadoff man on and attempted to move the runner over. Hastings was not able to get the out at first and no one covered third base, allowing the original runner at first to advance all the way to third. With one out and runners on first and third, Lavin was able to get a ground ball. But the defense was unable to turn the double play and the run scored. Burnsville won 3-2.
Ritt threw six innings and allowed one run (unearned) on five hits and four walks with six strikeouts. Lavin pitched 1 1/3 innings in relief and gave up two runs on two hits, a walk and an error. Hastings had just two hits total, one from Biermaier and the other by Flynn, while Flynn and Peters had the Raiders' two RBI.
Eliminated by Rosemount
Hastings quickly fell behind Rosemount the next day, May 30, in the first round of consolation play. The Irish scored two runs in the first, three in the second, five in the third and one in the fourth to lead 11-0 through four innings. The Raiders were able to bounce back and scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth and then one each in the sixth and seventh, but it was not enough and they fell 11-5.
Flynn started the game for Hastings and threw one inning, giving up five runs (four earned) on seven hits with a strikeout. He was relieved by sophomore Simon Hedin who pitched two innings and gave up six runs on nine hits with two strikeouts. Lavin came in and pitched the final three innings, striking out five with one walk. Davis and Biermaier led the offense with two hits each while senior Nolan Conzemius had three RBI while Davis and Biermaier each had one as well.
Hastings loses nine seniors to graduation, including Lavin, Conzemius, Logan Swanson, Davis, Brett Pacholl, Flynn, Zach Jorgensen, Biermaier and Hayden Fraley-all of whom saw significant varsity action this season. Potential significant returners include Ritt, Otto, Peters and Hedin.